Tag: Omar Vizquel

Eight is enough to make you throw up in your mouth a little bit

A two-run homer from Steve Holm I can live with, but intentionally walking Omar Vizquel three times in a game is a little bit tougher. That’s just indefensible for a lot of reasons, but the big ones are that he’s 41-years-old and on-based .305 and slugged .316 last season.

And yes, I do remember that after each of the three intentional walks to Vizquel in Sunday’s game the pitcher struck out the next Giant to end the inning. It’s not that kind of a thing.

Indefensible or not, there’s got to be something going on. Turns out it might be that what part of it is is that the Phils are getting shelled by eight hitters this season. Here’s what guys in the eight hole have done against the Phillies so far:




309 405 434 839

If that looks bad, well, it is. The .839 OPS that opponents eight hitters have posted against Phillies hurlers is the worst in the NL. By a lot. Not including yesterday’s game, Colorado had been second-worst against eight hitters using OPS as a measure. They had posted a .775 OPS against them.

Overall for the season, opponents have hit 264/333/422 against the Phils, a .756 OPS — eight hitters have been significantly better than other hitters in the lineup.

The .309 batting average eight hitters have posted against Phils’ hurlers is the worst in the league. The Phillies have struck out opponents eight hitters 17 times this season, also (tied for) the worst in the league. The Reds have struck out the eight hitter the most times — again, not counting yesterday’s games, 43. The Phils have walked the eight hitter intentionally six times, the most in the NL.

Put it all together and you’ve turned the molehill of the eight-spot into a mountain. Here’s what Phillies’ pitchers have done overall against hitters in each of the non-pitchers spot in the order so far this season, and their rank compared to the other NL teams using OPS as the measure (still doesn’t include yesterday’s games. Really, nothing in this post includes anything from yesterday’s games):

# in order

OPS against

NL Rank
1 .829 14
2 .675 5
3 .913 12
4 .882 9
5 .806 7
6 .749 9
7 .745 9
8 .839 16

Using OPS as the measure, not only have the Phillies been the worst team in the NL against eight hitters, but #8 hitters in the order have been more effective against them than leadoff men, #2, #5, #6 and #7 hitters.

Eight NL teams, that’s half, have thrown to a lower OPS against their opponents #3 hitters than the Phillies have to their opponents’ #8 hitters (ie, eight NL teams have thrown to an OPS lower than .839 against #3 hitters).

In 2007, eight hitters hit 285/366/374 against the Phillies pitchers. That was bad, 11th worst in the NL, but not quite as bad as the Phils were overall. Overall in 2007 the Phils’ pitchers threw to the 13th-best OPS in the league.

In 2007 the Phils still walked the eight hitter a lot. The 68 walks to the eight hitter were third most in the league (overall the Phils were tied for allowing the eighth-most). They intentionally walked the eight hitter 17 times. Only two teams intentionally walked the eight hitter more than that, Colorado and Arizona both walked the eight hitter 18 times in ’07.

All these huge numbers for eight hitters this year must at least one someone and probably more on the Phillies’ pitching staff is getting bombed by guys in the eight hole. And someones are. Among the guys in the rotation, eight hitters are 7-for-19 with a double and three walks against Myers (368/455/421 with an .876 OPS). That’s bad, but Kendrick and Moyer have been even worse. Eight hitters are 5-for-15 with two doubles, a home run and two walks against Kendrick (333/444/667, 1.111 OPS). 7-for-16 with four doubles, a triple and two walks against Moyer (438/500/813, 1.313 OPS).

Some of that is surely just bad luck that will even out along the way. The thing the Phillies can definitely control is how often they pitch around the eight hitter and how often they walk him intentionally. I’d go with a lot less. It’s just one that doesn’t need to be over-thought. There’s a reason that the guy is hitting eighth and the chances are pretty good that it’s there are seven guys in the lineup that can hit better than he can. Try to get him out.

Holm is where the hurt is

If you walk Omar Vizquel intentionally three times in a game you deserve to lose, and apparently the baseball gods aren’t afraid to get a little creative in figuring out how. Yesterday they went with career home run number one for Steve Holm. The two-run blast came off of JC Romero in the bottom of the seventh and proved to be the difference as the Phils fell 4-3.

Romero has been fantastic since joining the Phils and has earned more than one blowup. No chance his run ends as well as it started, though, and the way he has been used by Manuel has to concern you. The details of the backup plan when it comes to a lefty out of the pen are a little fuzzy.

The Phillies lost to the San Francisco Giants yesterday afternoon, falling 4-3 to drop to 21-18 on the season. The Giants win the series two games to one. The Phils have lost three of four and scored three or fewer runs in each of the three games they lost.

Eaton got the start for the Phils and went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and five walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. He struck out four and dropped his ERA to 5.40. His line wasn’t that impressive, but he was worse than his line. Chad Durbin bailed him out after Eaton put runners on second and third with nobody out to start the sixth.

He threw a 1-2-3 first.

Bengie Molina started the second with a single and Aaron Rowand followed with a walk. John Bowker fisted a 2-2 pitch just over the glove of Rollins and into left-center. Molina scored to put the Giants up 1-0 and Rowand went to second. Jose Castillo smashed a ball, but right at Utley and Utley started a double-play. With Rowand at third and two outs, Eaton walked Omar Vizquel intentionally before he struck out the pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to end the inning.

Fred Lewis walked to start the third, but Eugenio Velez hit into a double-play behind him. Randy Winn followed and hit a slow ground ball to second. Utley fielded, but his overhand flip to Howard was bad for an error. Ruiz threw Winn out trying to steal second for the third out.

Molina started the fourth with a double and again Eaton walked Rowand behind him. Bowker singled to load the bases and Castillo hit into another double-play. Molina scored to put San Francisco up 2-1. Eaton again walked Vizquel intentionally, putting men on first and second before Vizquel stole second. Eaton again struck out Sanchez to end the inning.

Very bizarrely similar to the second inning. To review, Molina led off both innings and the same hitter was hitting in the same slot in the order in both frames. The second went 1B, BB, 1B, GDP, IBB, K and the fourth went 2B, BB, 1B, GDP, IBB, K.

Two times in three innings is too many to walk Omar Vizquel intentionally.

Eaton threw a 1-2-3 fifth.

He started the sixth up 3-2 and hit Molina. Emmanuel Burriss ran for Molina and Rowand doubled to right, sending Burriss to third. With the lefty Bowker at the plate, Manuel pulled Eaton and brought Durbin in to pitch. Durbin hit Bowker with his first pitch to load the bases. Castillo was next and lined into a double-play to first, with Howard catching the ball and doubling Bowker off first. Third time in five innings Castillo had hit into a double-play. Vizquel was walked intentionally for the third time to load the bases. Switch-hitter Ray Durham hit for the pitcher Billy Sadley and Durbin struck him out to end the inning.

Romero started the seventh still up a run. Winn singled to left with one out and it brought up Steve Holm, who came on to catch after the Giants ran for Molina in the bottom of the sixth. The righty Holm hit the first pitch he saw from Romero out to left to put the Giants up 4-3. Romero walked Rowand before he got Bowker to pop to third for the third out.

Gordon started the eighth and gave up a leadoff triple to Castillo. He struck out Vizquel, got Rich Aurillia on a fly ball to shallow center and Lewis on a ground ball to second to leave Castillo stranded.

Romero threw 22 pitches, Durbin nine and Gordon 16. With the off day today all three may be available tomorrow against the Braves.

The Phillies’ lineup against lefty Jonathan Sanchez went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Jenkins plays right against the lefty. Ruiz catches despite then homer from Coste the day before.

Utley singled with two outs in the first, but Howard flew to right for the third out.

Burrell started the second with a single. Werth followed with a ground ball to short. Burrell was forced at second for the first out with Werth safe at first. Feliz flew to center for the second out before Werth stole second. Ruiz drew a walk to put men on first and second for Eaton, but Eaton flew to center for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.

Burrell walked with one out in the fourth. Werth struck out behind him, but Feliz doubled down the left field line and Burrell moved to third. Ruiz was walked intentionally to load the bases for Eaton, and Eaton drew a walk that forced in Burrell and tied the game at 1-1. Rollins was next and would have walked too, but he swung at ball four and flew to center for the third out.

Utley walked with one out in the fifth and Howard followed with a triple off the wall in right. Utley scored to tie the game again, this time at 2-2. Burrell hit a fly ball to right deep enough to score Howard and the Phils led 3-2. Werth fouled out to end the frame.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the sixth.

With one out in the seventh, Victorino singled and stole second. Utley flew to right for the second out, moving Victorino to third, but Howard struck out to end the frame.

Down 4-3 in the eighth, the Phillies went 1-2-3.

Righty Brian Wilson came on for the Giants in the ninth to protect a 4-3 lead. Jenkins hit for Ruiz and struck out. Dobbs hit for Gordon and hit a ball hard down the first base line. Rich Aurillia made a nice diving play, but Wilson didn’t cover first base nearly in time and Dobbs had a single. Rollins hit an 0-1 pitch back to the pitcher and Wilson started a double-play to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-5 and left four men on base. He was 3-for-14 with a double and a home run in the series and is hitting 283/309/509 on the year.

Victorino was 1-for-4. 1-for-13 with a single in the set. 232/291/284 on the year. He’s in danger of losing time to Werth soon if he doesn’t start to hit.

Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-11 with two walks in the series. 327/409/680.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI. 3-for-13 with a triple and a home run in the series. 171/280/357.

Burrell was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. 1-for-6 with five walks. 298/437/605.

Werth was 0-for-4. 1-for-9 in the series. 252/328/495 on the year after going 4-for-his-last-27. Jenkins was 0-for-1 yesterday and 1-for-4 in the series. 255/291/345.

Feliz was 1-for-4 with a double. 3-for-11 with two doubles in the series. 240/291/424 on the year. Dobbs was 3-for-5 with an RBI in the series and is hitting 320/364/480.

Ruiz was 0-for-1 and walked twice. 1-for-5 with three walks and two RBI in the series and 233/310/311 for the year. Coste was 1-for-3 with a home run in the series. 291/381/527.

No game today. First of three against the Braves tomorrow night in Philadelphia.

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